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Gras v. Subcontracting Concepts LLC

United States District Court, W.D. Washington, Seattle

October 10, 2019

SEATON GRAS, Plaintiff
v.
SUBCONTRACTING CONCEPTS, LLC, PETER FIDOPIASTIS, and RYAN WISE, Defendants,

          ORDER DENYING PLAINTIFF'S MOTION FOR RECONSIDERATION AND DEFENDANTS' MOTION FOR ATTORNEYS' FEES

          BARBARA J. ROTHSTEIN UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

         I. INTRODUCTION

         Before the Court is Plaintiffs motion for reconsideration, Dkt. No. 22, of the Court's ruling that it lacked personal jurisdiction over Defendants in this matter, Dkt. No. 21. Plaintiff purports to present new evidence, not previously available, to support its request for reconsideration. Defendants reply that not only does the new information not change the Court's previous conclusion, but that Plaintiffs motion is frivolous and, therefore, warrants sanctions. Dkt. No. 26.

         Having reviewed the motion, opposition thereto, the record of the case, and the relevant legal authorities, the Court will deny both Plaintiffs motion for reconsideration and Defendants' request for sanctions. The reasoning for the Court's decision follows.

         II. BACKGROUND

         The Court laid out the background of this case in depth in its recent order granting Defendants' motion to dismiss for lack of personal jurisdiction. See Dkt. No. 21. In brief, the matter involves the souring of a business relationship to develop software for an application. The core of the case, however, revolves around Plaintiffs allegation that Defendants tapped into a teleconference in which he was attempting to market the application to third-party competitors of Defendants.

         On September 17, 2019, the Court granted a motion to dismiss by Defendants finding that the Court did not have personal jurisdiction over Defendants. Dkt. No. 21. In essence, and based on the information before the Court at the time, Defendants had not purposefully directed their actions towards Washington State because the teleconference line allegedly tapped, which Plaintiff was using during his call, was owned by Defendants. As the Court stated, "[t]he relevant facts that remain are that Plaintiff initiated the contact with the State of New York by dialing into the teleconference equipment of a New York based company, whose equipment is located in New York, and who did not appear to have knowledge of the call prior to, and during, its commission or give permission for such a call to take place." Id. at 8.

         Plaintiff responded to the Court's opinion with a motion for reconsideration. Dkt. No. 22. According to Plaintiff, he obtained new evidence, not available earlier, that the conference line utilized for the teleconference in question did not belong to Defendants, but instead was an independent, third-party service called Mikogo. Id. at 3, 7-9. Thus, Plaintiff asserts, the facts of the case have dramatically changed to "Plaintiff having an independent private conversation in Washington" where Defendants "found some way to access Plaintiffs private Mikogo conference call and instructed their internal software to record it without the consent or knowledge of Plaintiff." Id. at 8 (emphasis in original).

         Defendants reply that the Mikogo conference line referred to in Plaintiffs motion for reconsideration does, in fact, belong to them. Dkt. No. 26 at 1; Dkt. No. 26-1 at ¶ 5. Not only do they contest the appropriateness of reconsideration, Defendants also move for attorneys' fees. Dkt. No. 26 at 8-11. As Defendants state, "Plaintiff made no attempt to contact Defendants once he had obtained [the new evidence] to asked about phone number 855-809-1233, which is evident because, if Plaintiff had asked, Defendants would have promptly informed Plaintiff that [it] was an SCI toll-free number used by SCI's conference line." Id. at 5-6. As such, Defendants claim, "[t]he [m]otion for reconsideration based solely upon the erroneous theory that the toll-free number used by Plaintiff on March 25, 2014 did not belong to Defendants cannot be supported by any rational argument on the laws or facts and is therefore frivolous." Id. at 10 (internal quotations removed).

         III. LEGAL STANDARD

         A. Motion for Reconsideration

         "Motions for reconsideration are disfavored." Local Rules W.D. Wash. LCR 7(h)(1); see also Doe v. Trump, 284 F.Supp.3d 1182, 1184 (W.D. Wash. 2018); Dkt. No. 11 at 3 (this Court's standing order stating that "[m]otions for reconsideration are discouraged"). Ordinarily, the Court will deny such motions "in the absence of a showing of (1) 'manifest error in the prior ruling,' or (2) 'new facts or legal authority which could not have been brought to [the court's] attention earlier with reasonable diligence.'" Doe, 284 F.Supp.3d at 1184 (quoting Local Rules W.D. Wash. LCR 7(h)(1)).

         B. Sanctions

         FRCP 11 provides that an attorney is subject to sanctions "when he [or she] presents to the court 'claims, defenses, and other legal contentions' . . . [not] warranted by existing law or by a nonfrivolous argument for the extension, modification, or reversal of existing law or the establishment of new law.'" Holgate ...


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